The State of the Global Climate 2020 highlights the latest indicators of the climate system, including greenhouse gas concentrations, increasing land and ocean temperatures, sea level rise, melting ice and glacier retreat and extreme weather.

The WMO report, which included contributions from an extensive network of partners including the Met Office, also highlights impacts on socio-economic development, migration and displacement, food security and land and marine ecosystems.

Globally, 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, despite a cooling La Niña event. The global average temperature was about 1.2° Celsius above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. The six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record. 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record.

WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas said: “It has been 28 years since the World Meteorological Organization issued the first state of the climate report in 1993, due to the concerns raised at that time about projected climate change. While understanding of the climate system and computing power have increased since then, the basic message remains the same and we now have 28 more years of data that show significant temperature increases over land and sea as well as other changes like sea level rise, melting of sea ice and glaciers and changes in precipitation patterns.  This underscores the robustness of climate science based on the physical laws governing the behaviour of the climate system.

“The key climate indicators provided in this report highlight relentless, continuing climate change, and the severe losses and damage associated with extreme weather events, affecting people, societies and economies.”

António Guterres the UN Secretary-General added: “This report shows that we have no time to waste.  The climate is changing, and the impacts are already too costly for people and the planet.” 

Prof Albert Klein Tank, director, Met Office Hadley Centre, said: “With global temperatures continuing to rise taking humanity further into uncharted territory, it is clear that the best available climate science will be needed to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change while helping society adapt to the climate change that we are already committed to. 

"Since it was formed in 1990, the Met Office Hadley Centre has created a world-leading capability for developing and applying climate science to address societal needs. The Met Office looks forward to continuing our pioneering role.”  

To see the latest climate indicators please the climate dashboard.